If you are looking to receive financial aid, or even simply the Federal Direct Student Loan or a Federal Parent PLUS Loan, you will need to fill out the Free Application For Student Aid (FAFSA). We recommend to our students and families that they complete the form as soon as it becomes available. Each year the FAFSA opens on October 1st.
What Is the FAFSA
The FAFSA is the financial aid form for the federal government and for most institutions. The information you submit on the form is used by the government and some institutions to determine whether or not the student qualifies for financial assistance to attend college. While filling out the form is not a requirement, it is necessary in order to obtain potential aid and the Federal Direct Student Loan.
Do All Colleges Use the FAFSA?
Most institutions use the FAFSA to base their decision on whether you qualify for financial aid and, if so, how much as it relates to that specific school. Some schools require the student to complete the CSS profile. This is another financial aid form. It is much more in depth than the FAFSA. About 300 schools require students to complete the CSS profile in order for them to assess whether a student will qualify for financial aid at their institution. Additionally, there are some schools that have supplemental financial aid forms in addition to the FAFSA and the CSS profile. It’s very important to understand what forms are required by each school.